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Africa Alive! Africa Alive

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Kifaru Bwana, 13 Aug 2007.

  1. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    It seems all safari parks are slowly changing their tac. oburn, West Midlands, Longleat are slowly moving to keeping more and rarer species than before.

    Africa Alive has recently acquired Somali wild ass and addax. For its existing stock the zoo has acquired two new male Southern white rhino to more reflect their breeding composition in the wild and now has a herd of 3.2 (females tend to live with their calves and run over the males' territories and when in oestrus are bred by the resident male). Anyone know where both new males have come from?
     
  2. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Jelle, I can't answer your question re the White Rhinos, maybe Hadley can.

    However, despite its name 'Africa Alive' is NOT a Safari Park. There are no 'drive thru' reserves etc. It used to be called the 'Suffolk Wildlife Park' and was a mixed collection which gradually obtained more African Species until they concentrated on them and changed the name to reflect this and make it more 'popular'. I think nowadays there's one large main mixed exhibit with the Rhino, Zebra, Giraffe etc and other ungulates are all in seperate enclosures. It is still a Wildlife/Zoo Park though.

    All the others you mention, Longleat, Woburn and West Midlands(and Knowsley) are all true Safari Parks though, with the big 'drive thru' reserves. And yes, it does seem that some of them are now trying to add much rarer species which up until now have been the provenance of the mainstream zoos.
     
  3. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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    there are also nyala, nile lechwe, kafue red lechwe and blesbok. they also have some very old aardvarks originally from london zoo and breeding pairs of striped hyena and fossa
     
  4. Hadley

    Hadley Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure about the Rhinos, they had 2.2 for a while, and I think the most recent male may be Marwell's last calf which is fully grown now.
     
  5. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Thats quite likely- there have been other movements between these two before- e.g. male Giraffe, Somali Ass, others?
     
  6. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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    just had a look at their website they have had 5 cheetah cubs born there
     
  7. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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    After reading the thread on Congo buffalo in the UK, with Africa alive being a new collection in the eaza area, now becoming well established will we start to see potential breeding herds or pairs coming into the park as has happened with the blesbok and potentially the Somali wild ass.
    With the construction of the African plains exhibit, lion enclosure and cheetah enclosures, maybe we will see the paddocks over the lake regenerated, perhaps some female nyala and some other species to join the large herd of Nile lechwe
     
  8. johnstoni

    johnstoni Well-Known Member

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    There is certainly a lot of potential, it is an amazing location. Many of the paddocks still just have domestic stock (ankole, water buffalo, cameroon sheep), there is a huge natural lake with islands not currently used for animals, and an equally large area behind the fossas that used to be a miniature railway. They could also make great use of the woods that the lower paddocks back onto, but these are not accessible to any of the hoofstock in front of them.
     
  9. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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    I have only seen Africa alive's layout from a plan of the park but i would think the paddocks where they currently keep the Somali wild ass, Congo buffalo and Barbary sheep would be ideal for an African desert set of enclosures keeping the ass and the sheep there along with perhaps Hamadryas baboon and a gazelle species (dorcas from Marwell?) along with the addax.
    The paddocks at the top of the park could become a set of forest enclosures for bongo, Congo buffalo, red river hog and an open enclosure for colobus and mandrill similar to the one they have at Banham.
    With a pygmy hippo enclosure with access to the lake area.
    Keep the lemur islands as they are, but from what i hear they could do with more planting on them.
    This is the current map of the park
    Africa Alive :
     
  10. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Good ideas. I like the idea of them having Mandrills in due course- they could easily get some from Colchester or even Chester in due course.

    Just remember this park isn't enormous- the mixed African exhibit is the largest enclosure- a lot of the other paddocks are a lot smaller. Its isn't on the scale of a Safari Park and is more like e.g. Twycross in size(maybe a bit bigger).
     
  11. johnstoni

    johnstoni Well-Known Member

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    The woodland in the middle and surrounding the marsh paddocks is more sheltered and more mature than the wooded areas at the top of the zoo, and is completely unused. I had always wondered why the forest buffalo weren't housed where the ankole currently are, with access into these woods, which are at the back of the paddock. There is no reason not to allow them under the canopy, certainly Port Lympne has done it with Bongo and anoa and it works extremely well.

    The paddocks Kiang mentions for desert species are so exposed, which is the problem for the whole site. I think the exposure to the sea winds does affect some of the animals adversely. The same is certainly true of their primates... mona, talapoin, hamlyns, l'hoest's, de brazza, eastern colobus, and spot-nosed monkeys all came and went in the last 15 years. I'm guessing that, without paignton-sized indoor space, the winters are cramped and unbearable for many primates they have tried to house. So I wonder how they'll do with the new King colobus monkeys. Having said that, those geoffroy's spider monkeys (now at cromer) were previously a larger, breeding group that survived for years at Kessingland up a mature tree in a hotwired enclosure with the use of something the size of a small garden shed for shelter (the site of which is now one of the mature trees in the african plains blocked off by rocks)......so what do I know?! I sort of hoped those vervets they acquired a year or so ago were destined to be mixed on the African plains....but I doubt that would happen.
     
  12. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Quite a few Uk zoos are situated close to the sea- Paignton,(& living Coasts) Blackpool, Cromer, Newquay, Welsh Mountain (and Southport was too), even Port Lympne, but I agree that Kessingland/AA must be the most exposed, particularly the upper area, and being on the East coast, the coldest in winter. Its not really a very suitable location for keeping primates from tropical countries.

    I like to see ungulates given access to treed areas where possible- the problem is they will damage the trees over time- probably the reason the woodlands at AA aren't incorporateed into the paddocks.
     
  13. taun

    taun Well-Known Member

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    Its also situated close to the Norfolk broads, which is quite low lying land.
     
  14. johnstoni

    johnstoni Well-Known Member

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    Trees can be easily protected, bushes may need to be cut back, but there is a huge amount of stunning lake, woodland and grassland habitat not currently being used at the site.
     
  15. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Can't disagree there. The lower part of the park is very pictureque but wasn't really developed to its full potential- though I haven't been there for some years.

    I heard that they revamped the Lion 'dell'- is it larger or how is it different from the original?
     
  16. johnstoni

    johnstoni Well-Known Member

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    They just improved it. It used to hold rare breed domestic pigs, but was made into a simple lion exhibit for a few years before rebuilding it with a viewing platform etc and a little more space.
     
  17. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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    What species would you guys like to see at Kessingland?
     
  18. johnstoni

    johnstoni Well-Known Member

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    I think the site would be really suitable for a gelada/ibex exhibit similar to the Bronx zoo one. Also, the lake and surrounding area would be ideal for common hippo/pelicans.

    Really, though, before anything else, it would be great to see them do something amazing for their chimpanzees, maybe add a couple of older females to the group and give them something approaching the standard of MonkeyWorld. The aardvark housing is pretty basic too, considering how hard it is to successfully breed this species I don't see it as particularly conducive to raising offspring under such clumsy parents.
     
  19. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I think they should do away with the older-style cages still in the top part of the Park. They contrast poorly with the modern approach of the rest of it. As Johnstonii says- the chimps need something better- a bigger group and more room in an interesting open enclosure would be ideal. I would get rid of any monkeys they still have and replace with one other group of active 'tough' primates e.g. Geladas or failing them, Savanah baboons (Have they got Hamadryas already?) I think 'Africa Alive' would do best concentrating on the simple and larger exhibits really.
     
  20. johnstoni

    johnstoni Well-Known Member

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    They have no baboons at present. Hamadrayas baboons would work well with the barbary sheep, Windsor Safari Park mixed these two species some years ago. The previous owners had Barbary macaques on what is now the largest lemur island (or not, if the walk-through area has caused the lemurs to be relocated, I haven't seen it), and a couple of hotwired grass pens up at the top of the zoo for crab-eating/rhesus macaques.

    Someone else mentioned that the top row of cages were partly boarded up now as if some building work was to start? I wonder if the fossas will be given new housing. The cages are run-down, and despite previously housing gibbons and various guenons, are smaller than most other captive habitats for this species.